HOUSEHOLDS in Musanze District received over 40 million seedlings of orange-flesh sweet potatoes during a market linkage outreach campaign.
The campaign, that started last week, was organised by International Potato Centre (CIP) to sensitise the public about the new Vitamin A-rich sweet potato variety that is being grown in all districts of the country.
According to CIP Country Manager Kirimi Sindi, the campaign was also aimed at linking farmers who are growing the orange-fleshed sweet potato to potential consumers, processors, and other institutional markets.
Dr Sindi said this would lead to an increase in the availability of orange-fleshed and other types of sweet potato in the country.
Members of the public present were also able to taste the sweet potato in the parking lot of the new Musanze market from where the activity was launched.
Eighteen restaurants were also given the potatoes for their customers to taste the new variety.
The orange-flesh sweet potato is said to have a high return to the farmer and yields within a shorter period of time compared to other varieties.
According to Jean-Pierre Iyamuremye, a farmer of this variety in Musanze said that a hectare of the sweet potato may produce an average of 12 tonnes in three and a half months compared to local varieties that produce about 5 tonnes per hectare and takes between six and eight months to mature.
Sindi said that due to its Vitamin A content, the sweet potato is good for the eyes because it improves eye sight, improves immunity hence being an essential food for children under five years and expectant mothers.
This variety is also known to be good for agro-processing as today it is being used by some bakeries to produce dough nuts, cakes, bread and biscuits like at Urwibutso enterprise by Sina Gerald.
Soon, the orange-fleshed sweet potato will be used to produce spaghetti by Carl Group, an entreprise by young Rwandans that uses innovation to add value to locally produced products.
After Musanze, the campaign will continue to other parts of the country, including Kigali and it will be concluded at the end of September.